Thursday, February 4, 2010

Our Journey to Brookside

Last night on our way home from the Wednesday night Bible study at Brookside, J and I were celebrating the long and intricate journey in which God led us to Brookside. We don't know if Brookside is the end of the journey, or just another wonderful stop along the way, but we are loving it! I would like to share it with you.

After college, before J and I met, he lived in Chicago in one of the more dangerous neighborhoods with drug dealers, prostitutes and gunshots. However, J discovered wonderful people in the darkness - the family upstairs and the air force veteran a few houses down. He did not have to be afraid and felt God's protection.

After J and I got married in Indiana, we joined a life group at Northview Christian Life Church. One woman in the life group, Brita, convinced us to serve breakfast at Brookside. We were awkward and uncomfortable, but Brita sat down with a group of children and started a conversation. What guts! I made a mental note that I wanted to be more like her. After awhile the breakfast didn't work out, so we stopped volunteering at Brookside.

Then, a while later, another couple in our group, Zack and Angie, called up Doug Ehrgott, the Outreach Pastor at Northview, and asked if there was anything we could help him with. Doug had just completed a book called Externally Focused Church, and asked us to read it and be the guinea pigs. We began serving others in our community. It was really hard. J and I learned a lot about ourselves and problems to avoid next time, but we also realized that serving was something we had to do.

During our serving experiment, I was hired at Northview as an Administrative Assistant. I had a great time there and have great love for so many coworkers, but God was stirring J and my hearts. We felt like there was still something missing. Why are we serving but not joyfully? Why is it such hard work?

While on staff at Northview I was placed in a group several times with the Worship Pastor Ryan Poe (and other people) to discuss serving in our community. God was working on Ryan and Shannon to begin serving more and eventually begin their own church The Well. Since Ryan and I did not really know much about each others families, he seemed surprised that J and I were involved with serving in the community too. I don't know if that was the reason he later invited us to be part of the Well, but I think God definitely planned it that way.

I quit my job when J and I had our first child and we began attending The Well. A few months into the church we found ourselves once again serving at Brookside. This time we went to just be there and serve as God shows us. Our commitment was to go once a month, but J and quickly realized that we would never actually get to know anyone that way, so we began attending every Sunday morning and helping with the children. Last year The Well combined with another church on Sunday mornings so we had to make many choices. We decided to put our time and energy into the people at Brookside. We made a commitment to attend the Wednesday night Bible study and get to know people better.

We have been there every week (minus illness and vacation) for almost three years. God is at work at Brookside. He is fighting a war against addictions, poverty, indifference. I can see God instilling confidence, importance, knowledge, and passion in his people.

I am so thankful to God for leading J and I to Brookside, softening and opening our hearts, and equipping us with compassion and mercy (of which I was certainly lacking before). I am so thankful to the many people that have impacted our journey through their obedience to God, especially our families. We are confident that God is preparing us for something, but we are waiting and obeying with excitement and patience.

1 comment:

  1. Now this is beautiful servanthood. Thank you for sharing and challenging me. I agree that God is preparing you guys for something and I am so excited to watch!! Plus, I heard we will be in BSF together!! YEAH!!! I will be starting back in mid Feb ;). See you then.